Chief Leonard Papania
Chief Leonard Papania is a 1984 graduate of St. John High School in Gulfport. He graduated with honors from the University of Southern Mississippi earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice.
Leonard Papania first joined the Gulfport Police Department in April 1991 as a reserve police officer. He served in this capacity until November 1994, when he was hired as a full time police officer.
In 1995 he became a field training officer. He was assigned to the Proactive Unit, a street level criminal interdiction unit in 1996. This assignment included becoming a member of the Gulfport Police Tactical Entry Team.
In 1997 he was assigned as a Narcotics Detective with an assignment to the Street Level Narcotics Investigative Unit. In 1998 he was assigned to the Coastal Narcotics Enforcement Team where he was sworn in as a Task Force Agent with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics.
In 1999 he was assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration Gulf coast HIDTA where he was sworn in as a DEA Task Force Agent. During his assignment he became certified through the DEA as a clan laboratory investigator. Also during this time he became a member of the Gulfport Tactical Sniper Team.
In 2002 he received a promotion to Detective Sergeant and was assigned to the Gulfport Police Department Special Investigative Services. In 2004 he was promoted to Detective Lieutenant and assigned as the Officer in Charge of Special Investigative Services.
In February of 2006 Lt. Papania was promoted to the rank of Commander over the Operations Bureau by Chief of Police Alan Weatherford.
In 2007 he graduated from the Southern Police Institute Administrative Officers Course in Louisville, Kentucky.
In July of 2009 he was promoted to Deputy Chief of Police.
On May 8, 2013 he was appointed to Chief of Police.